By Plane -- JAL flies from Tokyo's Haneda Airport (¥29,500 for a regular one-way ticket; as low as ¥12,100 if purchased in advance) in 1 hour and 20 minutes. There is also air service from Kagoshima and Okinawa. An airport bus delivers passengers downtown in about 45 minutes for ¥740.
By Train -- JR's Marine Liner trains depart from Okayama Station approximately twice an hour, reaching Takamatsu in an hour; the fare is ¥1,470. From Matsuyama, trains take about 2 1/2 hours and cost ¥5,500.
By Bus -- JR buses (tel. 03/3844-1950; www.jrbuskanto.co.jp) depart Tokyo Station's Yaesu south exit nightly at 8:20 and 8:50pm (the latter bus also picks up passengers at Shinjuku Station at 9:30pm), reaching Takamatsu at 5:48am and 7:04am respectively the next day. The one-way fare is ¥10,000.
The Takamatsu Information Plaza (tel. 087/851-2009; daily 9am-6pm), located outside the main exit of the train station in a small building on the left side of the circular plaza, offers an English-language map of the city. You can also pick up the Shikoku Passport; although in Japanese only, it gives slight discounts to some of the listings, including Ritsurin Garden, Shikoku Mura, ANA Hotel Clement, and Royal Park Hotel Annex in addition to others. In addition, the Kagawa Welcome Card gives discounts to foreigners; you must download it at www.21kagawa.com/visitor.
Information is available online at www.city.takamatsu.kagawa.jp/kankou.
If you crave a bit of news from home or plan to remain in the area, head for I-Pal Kagawa, 1-11-63 Bancho (tel. 087/837-5908; www.i-pal.or.jp/en; Tues-Sun 9am-6pm), located about a 15-minute walk south of Takamatsu Station on Chuo Dori in the northwest corner of Central (Chuo) Park. Here you'll find magazines and newspapers in many languages, CNN on the tube, and three computers you can use free of charge for 30 minutes. This is also a good place to find out what's going on in the area.
In addition to I-Pal Kagawa, E-Topia Kagawa (tel. 087/822-0111), on the fourth and fifth floors of the Symbol Tower next to Takamatsu Station, has some 20 computers you can use for 1 hour for free (be sure to bring your passport with you for identification). It's open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 8pm.
Orientation & Getting Around
Takamatsu Station, Takamatsu Port, and the local streetcar terminus are clustered at the north edge of the city on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, in a new urban development called Sunport Takamatsu, which also includes the 30-story Takamatsu Symbol Tower, convention halls, exhibition and concert facilities, restaurants, shops, and offices. Office workers take respite along the Waterfront Harbor Walk and Tamamo Park, site of Takamatsu Castle's remains.
Most of the hotels and restaurants listed in this guide, as well as Ritsurin Garden, are located south and southeast of Sunport Takamatsu. Chuo Dori is the town's main avenue, running south from Sunport to Ritsurin Garden and beyond. Bisecting Chuo Dori and paralleling it to the east are shopping arcades. In fact, a total of 4km (2 1/2 miles) of covered shopping arcades make Takamatsu's the longest in Japan.
Although the main attractions of Takamatsu are spread out, they're easily reached from Takamatsu Station by JR train or by a commuter streetcar called the Kotoden Line. The Kotoden streetcar terminus, called Kotoden Chikko Station, is a 2-minute walk from Takamatsu Station's main exit, past the ANA hotel and to the right. Fares start at ¥180. Two stops south on the Kotoden streetcar (or a 25-min. walk from Takamatsu Station) is Kawaramachi Station, the heart of the city where you'll find many department stores, restaurants, and nightspots.